FUNNY CAR -- FINAL QUALIFYING RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, is No. 6 qualifier, 5.005/288.83, set in today's first session. In the final session he posted a 5.017-second pass at 288.27 mph. WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS...
FUNNY CAR -- FINAL QUALIFYING
RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, is No. 6 qualifier, 5.005/288.83, set in today's first session. In the final session he posted a 5.017-second pass at 288.27 mph.
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 10, 5.039/303.50.
CAPPS: "It's not what we expected, we are pretty disappointed with it. We had some things go wrong on the last run and we should have run a lot better. It was doing weird things down the track and I clicked it off early. The front end of the Camaro is dancing at half-track and it makes for an exciting ride. It started nosing over at the end, I had to get out of the throttle. We will fix the problem tomorrow. The indications show it will run well. When we ran the 5.00 it hazed the tires at the finish line, so it was a great run. The weather here and the lack of humidity is just taking getting used to. I have faith in Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch). I'm sure we'll set a pretty good number in the first round." ON THIS TRACK: "I love this track. It goes without saying it definitely set the bar now for any other track to make improvements. It's an amazing place. I sure wish we could run here 10 times a year. Obviously the fans are very supportive of NHRA Winston drag racing. and the track is completely smooth, everything about this track is the way you want a track built -- everything from the pit area to the shutdown area. It's a first-class facility. That's the way they all should be. It's almost going to be disappointing to go to some of the other tracks after we have been here. When the owners hear about this track and what they have done, it will send these people back to the drawing board."
BAZEMORE: "It's a good race day run (5.047/305.15 in the final session). We're not really where we want to be with this Camaro, but we are making some good forward progress so we will be ready for tomorrow. " ON THE TRACK: "The facility is absolutely first class. It's obvious that Bruton Smith's influence on our sport and what it is going to be is a very positive thing that's happening. I can honestly say that I feel more excited being involved in the future of our sport and what the future holds for the competitors than I ever have. To be here in Vegas at a facility like this and have the stands absolutely packed on a Saturday when it's 90 degrees gives me a great feeling to be involved. When we get our Camaro where we really want it to be consistently then that feeling will be even greater. The surface at the starting line is really marginal, and that's a problem, and then the heat of course makes the whole track kind of marginal, but I think in good weather the surface is going to be really excellent. It's very smooth. You can tell they really thought out the race track. It's exciting to have people involved that think the same way the racers do, paying attention to detail."
PRO STOCK TRUCK -- FINAL QUALIFYING -- PANELLA NO. 1 FOR SIXTH TIME
BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, grabbed his sixth career No. 1 qualifying position today, producing a track record at this new facility in the desert with his 7.684-second pass at 175.68 mph.
RANDY DANIELS, in the BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, winner of the previous event in Gainesville, Fla., was No. 1 following the first round, then fell to No. 2 in the second session to Panella, who held that spot through the next two sessions.
JERRY HAAS, JERRY HAAS RACE CARS CHEVY S-10, who got back in the driver's seat after Brad Jeter moved over to Pro Stock, qualified No. 3, 7.737/174.71. Canadian Mike Mahon will drive for Haas at the next three events.
PANELLA: "I think the track was pretty much equal today. The track came around 100 percent from yesterday. It looks like we will have a good race day tomorrow."
SOME OTHER DRIVERS HAD GOOD RUNS THAT ROUND, WERE YOU WORRIED?
"One of the guys that took a decent shot at me was my other Chevy S-10, Jeff Gracia. His was the only truck to improve in that session. We're going in the right direction in our pits and that's a good sign."
ON THE LAS VEGAS TRACK:
"I think it's a great place. I enjoy racing here, the other 33 trucks do too, but 18 of them are going home, that's not the funnest thing to do. With these huge fields and the several two-truck teams out here it will be a real competitive class by mid-year, even more so than it is now."
DOES COMING HERE TO LAS VEGAS MAKE IT HARDER TO CONCENTRATE ON RACING?
"I thought about that this weekend driving down here. It's in the back of your mind, to have a good time at night, check out the cool stuff here -- you only come here every six months -- but once you're strapped in and put your race face on you forget all that. I like to concentrate on both of my Chevy S-10s over there, and so far so good."
THIS IS YOUR FIRST NO. 1 OF THE SEASON, DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE BACK IN YOUR GAME?
"It's not that I struggled in the first two races. I just didn't make the good run at the right time. We made good runs here all the time. We may not have been the best at Pomona and Gainesville at the right time. That's pretty much what happens when you have weather conditions that prevent you from making a good run at the proper time."
Note: JEFF GRACIA, PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, qualified No. 12, 7.785/174.30.
DANIELS: "We just struggled to be able to qualify as good as we have. We didn't get to test under these kind of conditions. It's really nothing that we're used to. We thought it might be halfway similar to Bristol. The starting line is a little slipperier so what we used in Bristol didn't seem to work here."
DO YOU LIKE THE TRACK?
"The track is beautiful. As far as down-track is concerned, it is as smooth as it can be. We just have to figure out a way to get some teeth into the starting line. We were the quickest truck in the last two rounds, I think. Panella and I both went a .73. We have got a good race setup now, we're catching on. If we figure out a way to tune a couple more hundredths into this S-10, maybe we can be around for the late rounds tomorrow afternoon."
HAAS: "I'm really happy to get back in the driver's seat. I haven't been in there since the finals in Pomona last year. When we came in on Thursday I pulled the clutch out and didn't know what it was going to do with the altitude. It's a great race track, and to be out there and be No. 4 in the first session makes you very happy. In the next round we stumbled, blew the tires off and had the worst 60-ft. (time) I ever had. I thought about it last night. We came back here this morning and came up with a plan. When I pulled up for the run I was No. 17. We had to make a good run. It left good, it carried the wheels in second gear, I'm thinking we're going now. We got a .73 and I was pretty happy. I picked up the speed about a mile and a half in the last round. Now we have to go to work. I think I know what this S-10 wants. I came in here, I have no points, there's no pressure on me. I'll have a new driver coming in the next race. I'm looking forward to that. I'm glad we ran as well as we did this weekend because Mike is watching us on the internet and he's seeing what we're doing. He should feel very positive knowing that he will have a truck he can race with."
PRO STOCK -- FINAL QUALIFYING
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, is No. 13, 7.102/195.14, set on Saturday morning. He faces his dad Warren in the first round on Sunday,
KURT: "Maybe the only thing worse than not qualifying is qualifying opposite that Goodwrench car in the first round. the way things are going this year, I'm starting to think this season is just a test. My biggest concern this morning was the first four or five feet off the starting line. I saw the cars that ran before me slipping and sliding around, but we had the second-best 60-ft. time of the session. If we can get the clutch to slip a bit in second and third gear, I think we can pick up the pace and give Dad a race."